Chinese New Year is just round the corner, and most of us will be having non-stop feasts with families and friends for at least a week, if not longer. This is also a good time for us to try different kinds of wine!
Some of us will find it difficult to match Chinese New Year food and wine. A good strategy is trying wines with which we aren’t familiar. After all, typical CNY gatherings usually involve big groups. Even though you may not like a particular wine, there will likely be someone there who feels otherwise.
Let’s say you prefer wine from Bordeaux – you can still have a Bordeaux-blend wine with your Chinese New Year meal, but not one from France. How about from the USA, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Japan or China? They are made from the same grape varieties (mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, supported by Petit Verdot, Malbec and Carménère). You’ll still be within your comfort zone, but you’ll have the chance to experience Bordeaux blends from other countries. Who knows – you may discover a few wines that can rival your beloved Bordeaux.
The other option is instead of Bordeaux, try another French wine, perhaps from Champagne, Burgundy, Loire, Alsace, Rhône or southern France. The diversity of wine in France is as wide as its cuisine.
Or how about exploring wine from lesser-known regions? Rioja and Tuscany are the most popular regions from Spain and Italy, but have you ever tried Spanish wine from Toro or Italian wine from Marche? Both use the same major grape varieties as in Rioja and Tuscany (Tempranillo in Spain and Sangiovese in Italy), but there are subtle differences with these wines.
If you’re adventurous, look for wines from countries that people don’t normally associate with wine, such as India, Mexico, England and Canada (not ice wine, but white and red wine). More than 70 countries in the world produce wine! Why stick with only the few typical wine countries?
We are reluctant to try new wines for various reasons. But, as I can’t emphasise enough, wine is for sharing with good company, and any type of wine is a delicious backdrop that adds to a festive mood. Overcoming our intimidating feelings related to wine opens the door to the amazing world of wine. We won’t like all the wines out there, but we won’t know what we’re missing if we don’t try some new ones. This Chinese New Year, try to share wines that you don’t normally drink with your friends. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
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